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California bans gay-to-straight 'conversion' therapy for minors

October 1, 2012 |  7:42 am

 

California became the first state to ban therapy aimed at changing a minor's sexual orientation from gay to straight after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Sunday prohibiting the so-called "conversion" therapy.

“This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide,'' Brown said in a statement Sunday. "These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."

Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who introduced the measure, commended the governor and said he hoped other states would follow California's lead.

“No one should stand idly by while children are being psychologically abused, and anyone who forces a child to try to change their sexual orientation must understand this is unacceptable,” Lieu said.

Republican lawmakers called the bill an intrusion by the state into the decision of parents about how to raise their children. The conservative Pacific Justice Institute has said it will file a lawsuit alleging the measure violates constitutional protections, including the free speech rights of therapists and the right of patients to get access to information.

"The privacy concerns are fairly significant," said Matthew B. McReynolds, a staff attorney for the institute. "In our view, it's an intrusion beyond what the government has done before."

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— Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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